ICT sector policy evaluation and gap analysis

Project executed on behalf of a Ministry of ICT of a Middle Eastern country

Project Objective

The ICT Ministry of a Middle Eastern country wanted to engage in a thorough assessment of the country’s existing ICT policies, as well as those in non-ICT areas that affect the ICT sector, with a view to ensuring these were sufficient to foster the development of emerging technologies and encourage innovation. The main project objective was to provide solid recommendations on action areas the Ministry should prioritize, the policy strategy for the required objectives, and the main associated actions, initiatives and activities required.

Project Description

The project started with the definition of key policy concepts and terminology (e.g., policy, strategy, guidelines, regulation). This initial step was crucial to ensure proper communication and engagement with other stakeholders in the country (regulators, other public authorities, corporates, etc.).

We defined a solid methodology for the identification of high-priority, ICT-related, policy topics which, at the time, were still unaddressed or insufficiently addressed in the country. The first step included a comprehensive policy scan of ~400 ICT policies and other relevant documentation from various countries and reliable institutions in order to identify 70+ distinct policy topics, typically included in the ICT and emerging tech policies and strategies of leading countries. These included diverse topics such as Blockchain, Quantum Computing, Nano Electronics, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Smart Cities, Investment and Funding, etc.

Figure 1: Axon's ICT policy topic tree

We took a deep-dive gap analysis into all those topics, and also assessed the existing policies and strategies in the country, identifying main gaps vs. international best practice. We then defined those relevant topics that required policy action from the government. In order to define an implementable strategy, we prioritized the relevant topics so as to identify quick wins and long-term goals.

Figure 2: Prioritization of ICT topics

In parallel, we defined a typical Policy Life Cycle that should help ensure achieving the desired objectives for the gaps identified.

Figure 3: Policy lifecycle

Key Takeaways

This project provided the Ministry with a prioritization of policies requiring a follow up, with clear indications on the process to be followed and the associated initiatives involved. More generally, the project has equipped the Ministry with a model for a transparent and standardized policy development process that can ensure efficient implementation of the recommended and any other new policies for ICT and emerging technologies.